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Innovation

Glasses-free 3D - direct from computer to you

Virtualization with a twist: direct conversion of 3D models into full color 3D holographic images. We can design worlds on a computer and see them in 3D. Can 3D TV and cheap holographic storage be far behind?
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor on

Virtualization with a twist: direct conversion of 3D models into full color 3D holographic images. We can design worlds on a computer and see them in 3D. Can 3D TV and cheap holographic storage be far behind?

3D is hot in Hollywood right now, thanks to James Cameron's painstaking technical work on Avatar and - the crucial fact - its record breaking box office. But it's beginning to look like 3D is poised to move into our daily lives in multiple ways - from small 3D displays on cell phones to large, computer-generated color reflection holograms.

Zebra Imaging creates such holograms direct from 3D modeling data from programs like Autodesk. Here's 16 seconds on what they look like:

Holographic motion pictures Since we can create 1 color hologram, what's stopping us from creating 24 a second for a couple of hours? Only the lack of sufficient computing power to drive detailed 3D pixel ("voxel" or Volumetric Picture Element) creation and an up-dateable holographic medium.

At the University of Arizona, researchers have demonstrated a system that produces a new monochrome image every 2 seconds. No good for football, but useful for medical or other remote imaging applications.

At next month's Consumer Electronics Show a Hungarian company, iPONT, claims they will be showing a system aimed at consumers that converts Blu-ray 3D content into glasses-free 3D viewable across a 120 degree window. They say they can also convert live streaming 3D content as well.

I'll be stopping by their booth to see - in living color 3D! - where hype and reality meet.

The Storage Bits take The relationship between storage and display is surprisingly close: one of the earliest workable storage systems used cathode ray tubes - older folks may remember those - as storage. Any persistent medium can be used for storage. Interactive storage needs a rapidly re-writeable persistent medium.

The promise of holography has tantalized scientists, engineers and investors for decades. But harnessing holography for commercial customers isn't easy.

Only with the mass production of a successful consumer product will holography become a mainstream storage technology.

Comments welcome, of course.

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